An Alister MacKenzie course that was designed in 1912, Reddish Vale Golf Club is a very pleasant moorland track laid out on the banks of the River Tame, close to the M60 on the outskirts of Manchester. The river meanders, largely unseen, alongside several of the holes on the layout without ever impinging on play and this body of water adds charm to the setting.
The location is so suited to golf that the master architect had stated in his original site report that, “I was very much impressed with the possibilities of the ground available for the Reddish Vale Golf Club. Taking into consideration the excellence of the turf and the natural surroundings, the course will be an exceptionally accessible one.”
Playing to a par of 69, the course is configured in a somewhat unconventional manner with four of the five par threes on the scorecard played during the front nine. Another quirky, century-old feature that has been retained is the criss-crossing of fairways at holes 16 and 17, a case of routing the holes to best fit the land available.
The toughest hole at Reddish Vale is the long par four 13th, named “Copse,” and it’s considered to be one of the best in the county of Cheshire. Measuring all of 456 yards from the back tees, the slightly left doglegged fairway narrows considerably to a punchbowl green that’s surrounded by trees.
The golf course at Reddish Vale is one I would advise anybody to play. Not only is it one of the best value venues in the North West it is also one of the most interesting and entertaining.
Exciting terrain, great turf and some magnificent green locations place this course a clear level above most of its many neighbours in the Manchester suburbs and produces a round of golf that has several thrills and spills along the way.
The yardage is a modest 6,086 but the par of 69 has an SSS of 70 and with lots of natural hazards, including the River Tame, it is certainly no pushover. But a round here, on a course that lies third in seniority of all those built by the great Dr. Alister Mackenzie behind only Alwoodley and Moortown, is not so much about the score but the value of shots that must be played.
In particular the approaches into the greens are of a very high quality. All five of the short holes ask the golfer a different question. The second hole must be played over a ravine to a massive green whilst the penalty for missing the fourth to the left and the 12th to the right are severe. The 240-yard sixth is the longest of the quintet and drops 70-feet but the shortest, the fantastic 137-yard ninth, climbs to a green that feeds in from the right. As a collection they are nothing short of excellent.
Like many courses I see nowadays the amount of trees, overgrowth and vegetation at Reddish Vale kills a lot of the strategy and playability. The river that winds through the course is virtually hidden from sight and this takes away from much of the drama that could be had. Holes such as the sixth, seventh, 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th are not nearly as intimidating, nor thought-provoking, as they could be, and probably were a century ago.
Ed is the founder of Golf Empire – click the link to read his full review.
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